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American Ballads and Folk Songs
Then they took a flop with their skins plumb full, And they did not hear the harnessed bull, Till he shook them out of their boozy nap, With a husky voice and a loaded sap.
They were charged with "vag," for they had no kale, And the judge said, "Sixty days in jail." But the John had a "bindle"—a workers' plea— So they gave him a floater and set him free.
They had turned him up, but ditched his mate, So he grabbed the guts of an east-bound freight, He slung his form on a rusty rod, Till he heard the shack say, "Hit the sod!"
The John piled off, he was in the ditch, With two switch-lamps and a rusty switch, A poor old seedy, half-starved bo, On a hostile pike, without a show.
From away off somewhere in the dark Came the sharp, short note of a coyote's bark. The bo looked round and quickly rose, And shook the dust from his threadbare clothes.
Off in the west through the moonlit night, He saw the gleam of a big headlight— An east-bound stock-train hummed the rail} She was due at the switch to clear the mail.
As she drew up close, the head-end shack
Threw the switch to the passing-track,
The stock rolled in and off the main,
And the line was clear for the west-bound train.